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Knarf's Knewz Channel
« on: August 27, 2014, 09:15:26 AM »
By Kim Zetter


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services building is shown August 16, 2006 in Washington, DC.  Mark Wilson / Getty

As the acting cybersecurity chief of a federal agency, Timothy DeFoggi should have been well versed in the digital footprints users leave behind online when they visit web sites and download images.

But DeFoggi—convicted today in Maryland on three child porn charges including conspiracy to solicit and distribute child porn—must have believed his use of the Tor anonymizing network shielded him from federal investigators.

He’s the sixth suspect to make this mistake in Operation Torpedo, an FBI operation that targeted three Tor-based child porn sites and that used controversial methods to unmask anonymized users.

But DeFoggi’s conviction is perhaps more surprising than others owing to the fact that he worked at one time as the acting cybersecurity director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. DeFoggi worked for the department from 2008 until January this year. A department official told Business Insider that DeFoggi worked in the office of the assistant secretary for administration as lead IT specialist but a government budget document for the department from this year (.pdf) identifies a Tim DeFoggi as head of OS IT security operations, reporting to the department’s chief information security officer.

The porn sites he’s accused of using—including one called PedoBook—were hosted on servers in Nebraska and run by Aaron McGrath, who has already been convicted for his role in the sites. The sites operated as Tor hidden services—sites that have special .onion URLs and that cannot normally be traced to the physical location where they are hosted.

Although anyone could use the sites, registered users like DeFoggi—who was known online under the user names “fuckchrist” and “PTasseater”—could set up profile pages with an avatar, often child porn images, and personal information and upload files. The site archived more than 100 videos and more than 17,000 child porn and child erotica images, many of them depicting infants and toddlers being sexually abused by adults.

The FBI seized the sites in late 2012, after McGrath failed to secure his administrative account with a password. Agents were able to log in and uncover the IP address of the Nebraska server where he was hosting two of them. McGrath worked at the server farm, and hosted the third site from his home. The FBI monitored him for a year and after arresting him in November 2012 continued to operate his child porn sites secretly from a federal facility in Omaha for several weeks before shutting them down. During this time, they monitored the private communications of DeFoggi and others and engaged in “various investigative techniques…to defeat the anonymous browsing technology afford by the Tor network” and identify the real IP addresses of users.

These techniques “successfully revealed the true IP addresses of approximately 25 domestic users who accessed the sites (a small handful of domestic suspects were identified through other means, and numerous foreign-based suspect IPs were also identified),” prosecutors wrote in a court document. In March 2013, twenty suspects were indicted in Nebraska; followed by two others who were indicted the following August.

One of these techniques involved the used drive-by downloads to infect the computers of anyone who visited McGrath’s web sites. The FBI has been using malicious downloads in this way since 2002, but focused on targeting users of Tor-based sites only in the last two years.

Tor is free software that lets users surf the web anonymously. Using the Tor browser, the traffic of users is encrypted and bounced through a network of computers hosted by volunteers around the world before it arrives at its destination, thus masking the IP address from which the visitor originates.

The malware that investigators installed remotely on the machines of visitors to PedoBook and McGrath’s other sites was designed to identify the computer’s IP address as well as its MAC address and other identifiers. The results were coordinated raids in April 2013 that swept up more than a dozen suspects.

DeFoggi became part of that sting after becoming a registered member of PedoBook in March 2012 where he remained active until December that year. During this time DeFoggi, who described himself as “having many perversions,” solicited child porn images from other members, viewed images and exchanged private messages with other members expressing interest in raping, beating and murdering infants and toddlers.

Among those with whom he corresponded was an FBI undercover employee. During chats DeFoggi described using Tor to access PedoBook early in the morning hours and between 4 and 6 pm. Among the evidence seized against him was pen register/trap trace data obtained from Verizon showing someone at his Maryland residence using Tor during these hours as well as the IP addresses used by an AOL account under the username “ptasseater,” which pointed to DeFoggi’s home.

When agents arrived at his home early one morning to execute a search warrant, they had to pry him from his laptop, which was in the process of downloading a child porn video from a Tor web site called OPVA, or Onion Pedo Video Archive. In addition to child porn images stored on his computer, authorities also found evidence of his Tor browser history, showing some of his activity at PedoBook and OPVA.

DeFoggi received many commendations during his government career, according to an exhibit list created by the government for his trial. The list includes several certificates of award from the U.S. Treasury, a certificate of appreciation from the State Department for his work on a Hurricane Katrina task force, several documents related to computer courses he attended and certifications he received.

DeFoggi is scheduled to be sentenced in November.

found at: http://www.wired.com/2014/08/federal-cybersecurity-director-guilty-child-porn-charges/
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Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2014, 09:25:24 AM »
BY KATE MARTIN
Staff writerAugust 26, 2014


A man works on a cluster of cell phone antennae atop a small tower over a building near downtown Tacoma, August 26, 2014.

The Tacoma Police Department apparently has bought — and quietly used for six years — controversial surveillance equipment that can sweep up records of every cellphone call, text message and data transfer up to a half a mile away.

You don’t have to be a criminal to be caught in this law enforcement snare. You just have to be near one and use a cellphone.

Known as Stingray, the device — small enough to be carried in a car — tricks cellphones into thinking it’s a cell tower and draws in their information.

News that the city was using the surveillance equipment surprised City Council members, who approved an update for a device last year, and prosecutors, defense attorneys and even judges, who in court deal with evidence gathered using the surveillance equipment.

“If they use it wisely and within limits, that’s one thing,” said Ronald Culpepper, the presiding judge of Pierce County Superior Court, when informed of the device Tuesday. “I would certainly personally have some concerns about just sweeping up information from non-involved and innocent parties — and to do it with a whole neighborhood? That’s concerning.”

For years, a growing number of local law enforcement agencies have used the surveillance devices to track a cell signal to deduce a subject’s location, who he communicates with, for how long and how often.

Law enforcement investigators can use the technology to find drug dealers and violent criminals. Civil libertarians charge police also are secretly scooping up data from innocent people during these broad searches for suspects.

No state or local law enforcement agency in Washington state has acknowledged possessing the required surveillance devices. Tacoma Police Department has not confirmed that it has a Stingray, but Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said Tuesday that the Police Department sometimes assists the sheriff’s office with the device.
Documents — including purchase orders, invoices, contracts and even a police newsletter — further make the case that Tacoma officials will not.

Police Chief Don Ramsdell, through a spokeswoman, declined an interview request to talk about the police department’s apparent purchase of a Stingray device and associated technology. The department cited a nondisclosure agreement it has with the FBI.

The police department did offer to have a lieutenant review The News Tribune’s questions but only if they were submitted in advance so that they could be vetted to determine whether they violated the FBI agreement. The newspaper sent questions, and the department said it would respond Wednesday (Aug. 27).

Earlier this month, city officials blacked out portions of relevant purchase documents requested by The News Tribune.

Deputy City Attorney Michael Smith redacted much of the identifying information on a May 2013 invoice for the equipment, saying disclosure “would allow the identification of confidential pieces of technology.”

However, unredacted portions of those public records as well as other documents reviewed by The News Tribune indicate the Police Department has had the ability to wirelessly search neighborhoods since as early as 2008.

The Police Department appears to have updated its equipment last year with money authorized by a City Council whose members now say they didn’t know what they were buying.

“I’ve got to find out what I voted on before I comment,” Councilman David Boe said Monday. “This is new information.”

The devices are indiscriminate in the information they collect, and that bothers civil libertarians.

“They are essentially searching the homes of innocent Americans to find one phone used by one person,” said Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist with the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington, D.C. “It’s like they’re kicking down the doors of 50 homes and searching 50 homes because they don’t know where the bad guy is.”

City Manager T.C. Broadnax said he does not know the specifics of what the police department bought. But he believes the department “adequately briefed the City Council on the particulars of what we were buying and how and when they would use it under certain circumstances.”

“I’m not in law enforcement, but it’s my impression that it assists them in doing their job more effectively, and that’s to protect the public,” Broadnax said.

Mayor Marilyn Strickland said it doesn’t bother her that she wasn’t told the full capabilities of the device. She is comfortable with the Police Department having it — as long as they also protect civil liberties.

“If our law enforcement need access to information to prevent crime or keep us safe, that’s a legitimate use of the technology,” she said. “We are more focused on preventing crime and keeping our community safe than getting in people’s business.”

One City Council member said the Police Department’s purchase of surveillance equipment doesn’t concern him.

Councilman Joe Lonergan said he wasn’t told about the purchase he helped approve last year but said the police using such a device wouldn’t surprise him.

“There are lots of things, I imagine, not that I know about, that you don’t want to tell everyone how you process your investigation,” he said. “That’s why information on investigations are always slow to come out.”

Four members of the City Council — Marty Campbell, Anders Ibsen, Robert Thoms and Lauren Walker — could not be reached for comment. Councilwoman Victoria Woodards said she needed to check with the city manager for more information.

RECORDS DOCUMENT STINGRAY BUYS

Tacoma police officials might not want to talk about cellphone surveillance devices, which commonly are known as Stingrays, a popular model manufactured by Harris Corp. of Melbourne, Florida.

But public records tell part of the story.

A city memo last year in which the Police Department sought to bypass competitive bidding requirements is the first clue.

The memo cites the need to update equipment “utilized by Special Investigations in support of field operations for criminal investigations” and states that “current Harris Corporation technology owned by TPD was received through a Department of Justice (DOJ) Law Enforcement Grant Award in 2007.”

A few months later in 2008, the federal government sent the city via FedEx overnight a Stingray and a similar Harris Corp. device, called a Kingfish, according to documents posted this month on Muckrock, a website that helps people file public records requests.

The equipment was given under a federal program — the Counterdrug Technology Assessment Center, Technology Transfer Program — that provides equipment to local law enforcement agencies to fight the drug trade. It was shipped to police Detective Jeffrey Shipp.

In 2008, the city named Shipp an employee of the month in another apparent indication of the city’s pursuit of Stingray technology.

Shipp was praised in an employee newsletter “for his work in procuring a $450,000 training and equipment grant for a cellular phone tracking system — one of only five awarded across the country. Great job!”

The detective’s name showed up yet again in a March 2013 Police Department request to spend $251,752 to upgrade its Harris Corp. equipment. Most of the money — $188,814 — came from a federal port security grant through the Department of Homeland Security.

Shipp and Chief Ramsdell sold the purchase to the City Council as a boon to Tacoma’s bomb squad.

Ramsdell wrote in a memo to the city’s purchasing department: “This new equipment offers enhanced technological capabilities for the Tacoma Police Department Explosives Ordinance Detail (EOD) with IED (improvised explosive device) prevention, protection, response and recovery measures.”

But left unredacted on a May 2013 invoice for the purchase was this telling explanation for why the city was getting a laptop free of charge: “This $3,500 valued Laptop PC is included in the cost of the Stingray II Enhancement.”

Technically, the Stingray could be used to find someone with a cellphone who wants to set off an IED, or jam cell signals in an area, but that’s not its primary purpose.

“Chances are the city of Tacoma is not using it to find IEDs,” said Soghoian of the ACLU. “They’re using it to get drug dealers.”

The City Council unanimously approved buying the equipment March 19, 2013. Council members apparently did not know that the technology was not created to detect bombs.

Councilman Ryan Mello said he remembers talking with police about a grant relating to port security and improvised explosive devices, but not about cellphone surveillance.

“This is the first I’m hearing of it,” he said.

The Police Department should have disclosed what the device was really for, Mello said.

“I would expect that there would be policies in place about how people’s information, whether it’s sensitive or not, how people’s information is handled and used,” he said.

But the city manager insists that council members were told. For council members who do not remember the briefing, “I question what their recollection is. It’s been over a year since they got briefed on it,” Broadnax said.

HOW IT WORKS

In gathering information, a Stingray device exploits a flaw in cellphone signal security.

Cellphones seek the strongest cell tower signal, and a Stingray pretends to be a cell tower with a strong signal.

Soghoian of the ACLU described the process as a high-tech game of “Marco Polo.”

The Stingray sends a signal: “Marco.” All cellphones within range, not just the ones police are seeking, are compelled to respond: “Polo.”

The phones are tricked into passing data through government equipment before going to a legitimate cellphone tower — and the cellphone’s owner has no idea what happened.

Deployed in tandem with analytical software, such cellphone surveillance technology could be used by police to analyze massive amounts of metadata — who you call or text, when you contact them and for how long you talk — to determine associations between groups of people.

One maker of such software is Pen-Link of Lincoln, Nebraska. Purchasing records show Pierce County paid $8,400 for a year’s access to Pen-Link software as recently as 2012.

“Software is installed on Tacoma Police Department network for regional intelligence group,” the entry reads.

Sheriff’s spokesman Troyer said the county first bought the software in 2005 as part of a terrorism prevention program. The department uses the software as an investigative tool by analyzing data lawfully obtained through a warrant, he said.

In February, the Tacoma police bought software from another data-analysis company, Verint of Melville, New York, for $51,727, purchasing records show.

The Police Department’s purchase last year of updated Stingray technology appears to have ensured it can continue to track cellphones in the years ahead.

A 2013 invoice indicates the city bought Harris Corp. equipment under a federal General Services Administration contract. The city paid $109,421 — exactly the price the federal contract specified as the cost of a Stingray upgrade called Hailstorm.

Hailstorm appears to be aimed at keeping cellular surveillance equipment up to date.

“We don’t know everything about what the Hailstorm does,” said Soghoian of the ACLU. “… It’s not surprising that law enforcement agencies are seeking this equipment. It’s definitely not cheap.”

A March 2014 purchase order from the DEA states: “The Hailstorm upgrade is necessary for the Stingray system to track 4G LTE phones.”

The 4G LTE standard allows rapid data transfer over a wireless network and is becoming the standard in cell phone technology.

Stingrays can tap these phones, but only because the current generation of 4G LTE phones is compatible with the older 2G standard, Soghoian said. That won’t always be the case — and law enforcement agencies know this, he said.

USE OF CELL DATA NOT NEW

Law enforcement agencies long have been able to acquire cellphone records with permission from a judge.

When investigators want to learn the location of a suspect, they routinely pay a cellphone company a fee to find the person’s cellphone — but only after a judge has signed off on the request for what’s known as a “pen register.”

The information from cellphone companies shows only where a person has been and who the person has called or texted. A Stingray shows where the person is and who he or she is calling or texting in real time.

Stringrays and similar devices also are more precise. Small enough to be portable, a Stingray can be driven around a target location to more accurately pinpoint the location of a subject.

Nationally, some agencies have used pen registers as permission to deploy Stingrays and similar devices. It often is unclear whether judges approving the orders were told that officers would be privy to information about a whole neighborhood, not just the subjects they said they would be tailing.

In 2012, a U.S. magistrate judge in Texas refused to grant the federal Drug Enforcement Agency permission to use a Stingray in part because the agency did not explain “what the government would do with the cellphone numbers” of innocent people and other information recorded on the equipment.

In June, Phil Mocek, a prolific user of the Muckrock website, asked the Tacoma police to produce documents showing its use of cell site simulators, which is what a Stingray is. The city responded earlier this month with a list that shows 168 cases since 2009 in which police sought court permission to access cellphone records.

In the same time frame, police used emergency orders, which do not require a judge’s immediate permission, 10 times. Such situations included finding people involved with the killing of four Lakewood police officers in 2009, kidnappings and people suspected of child prostitution.

The list also shows that Tacoma police officers filed for pen register orders and used a Stingray on behalf of other agencies, such as the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, the DEA in Seattle and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Troyer said the sheriff’s department has asked Tacoma police to use its Stingray on Pierce County’s behalf in at least two cases since April. One man threw a bottle of gunpowder at a victim. The sheriff’s office got a warrant to locate the suspect, who was then arrested.

Deputies also asked Tacoma in June to use the Stingray to find a homicide suspect, Troyer said.

“We were given the cell number of the homicide suspect and got a court order to locate the phone, and the suspect was arrested,” Troyer said.

OFFICIALS NOT IN LOOP

Neither the Pierce County Prosecutors Office, nor public defenders — not even superior court judges — were aware of Tacoma police using this surveillance technique, officials with those departments said Tuesday.

“We have not been given any information that any information was obtained by using something like a Stingray,” said Michael Kawamura, director of the Pierce County Department of Assigned Counsel.

He said other jurisdictions have used the device without a warrant — and if that’s happening here, Kawamura said, that’s a problem.

“You are not allowed to invade a person’s right to privacy absent judicial authority,” he said. “We weren’t aware of any particular cases where it was being used. It gives us something to look at.”

Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said local law enforcement agencies have long relied on cellphone locations obtained from cellular providers with a judicial order.

“There are cases where we’ve relied on triangulation,” he said. “What I’m not sure on and what I’d have to look into is if we are doing it the old-fashioned way or if we’re using Stingray technology.”

Prosecutors have to be able to defend evidence in court, he said. As far as he knows, local law enforcement is “playing by the rules.”

“None of this evidence has been successfully challenged by the defense, and from that, I can infer that law enforcement is doing it right,” he said. “Both prosecutors and defense attorneys will review warrants and make sure that they are valid.”

Judge Culpepper said police must show probable cause to get a pen register order, but as far as he knows, Tacoma police have never said they planned to use a Stingray to collect a suspect’s information.

If police delete information gathered from innocents, Culpeper said, “maybe there’s no harm.” But “If they are storing it, what are they storing it for? And who says they can store it in the first place?”

After revelations that the Seattle Police Department had bought drones and installed surveillance cameras near the waterfront without public notice, the Seattle City Council last year adopted a policy requiring council approval before any department acquires surveillance equipment.

Councilman Mello said Tacoma should create a similar policy.

Doug Honig, spokesman for the ACLU in Seattle, said governments need to have transparent policies on the use of “invasive surveillance technology.”

“Use of a Stingray by local law enforcement can be very problematic because they gather a lot of information about innocent people in addition to whoever might be a target of an investigation,” Honig said. “Any data not relevant to criminal activity should be gotten rid of, or should not be retained for very long.”

Culpepper said he plans to ask more questions of the Police Department when investigators next ask him for a pen register order or a warrant:

“I think I’ll probably ask what kind of device are you going to use?” he said.

found at: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2014/08/26/3347665_documents-tacoma-police-using.html?rh=1

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Offline knarf

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Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2014, 09:29:34 AM »
BY BRYCE COVERT



Former Kroger CEO David Dillon
CREDIT: AP/AL BEHRMAN
David Dillon, the former CEO of the supermarket chain Kroger, told the audience of an Aspen Ideas festival that his pay in his last year on the job, which clocked in at nearly $13 million, “even seems ludicrous to me.”
He clarified that the package wasn’t ludicrous when it was first put together, but rose so high because the company’s stock has skyrocketed, and much of his compensation was tied to the stock price. “I don’t really defend that amount, that even seems ludicrous to me,” he said. And while he said that even before the large package, compared to his peers, “I generally hit the 25th percentile on the bottom side” for compensation, even that “was pretty damn high.”
In a follow up interview with Quartz, he added that the use of the word ludicrous was in comparison “to what I thought was a more logical level of pay for the year.”
On the panel, he also defended the idea of designing executive compensation so that CEOs “have enough shareholder interest that they are mentally aligned with thinking about what should a long-term shareholder want out of an organization.” But he admitted things have gone pretty far. “I also think it’s gotten a little extreme, or maybe a lot extreme,” he said.
In speaking with Quartz, he added, “I personally believe that, generally speaking, executive pay has gotten too high, and it needs to be addressed in appropriate ways.” He added, “Anybody who looks at CEO pay, even if it was reasonably based, they would say that person is paid way too much.”
“I don’t dispute that they ought to be paid really well,” he said. “It’s just that I think it’s gotten a little bit out of hand.”
The numbers back him up. Median CEO pay hit a record earlier this year, breaching the $10 million mark. It rose more than 50 percent over the last four years, while the average American saw her pay increase just 1.3 percent over the last year. Chief executive pay has risen 127 times faster than worker pay over the last three decades. The ratio of CEO pay to worker pay was 259.9-to-1 last year. That compares to a ratio of 20-to-1 in 1965 and even just 87.3-to-1 in the early 90s. Executive pay is even growing faster than pay for the top 1 percent.
And there is little evidence to suggest that these huge increases in CEO compensation are benefitting their companies. There is no evidence to suggest that paying CEOs top dollar means better performance in terms of profitability, revenue, or stock return. In fact, a study found that the companies that pay their chief executives the most see the worst results for shareholders. Despite the attempt to tie pay to company performance, companies routinely game those systems to ensure that the top executive gets his bonuses and payouts, even if they fail to meet targets. Worse, nearly four in ten of the highest-paid CEOs over the last two decades were fired, caught committing fraud, or oversaw a company bailout.

found at: http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/08/27/3476173/kroger-ceo-compensation/
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Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2014, 09:36:14 AM »
—By Tom Philpott| Wed Aug. 27, 2014



It isn't just fast-food empires that rely on a low-paid, disempowered, and quite-often impoverished workforce. As a stomach-turning new report (PDF viewable here) from the Economic Policy Institute shows, the entire restaurant industry hides a dirty little labor secret under the tasteful lighting of the dining room.
Here are some highlights:

• The restaurant industry is a massive and growing source of employment. It accounts for more than 9 percent of US private-sector jobs—up from a little more than 7 percent in 1990. That's nearly a 30 percent gain.

• The industry's wages have stagnated at an extremely low level. Restaurant workers' median wage stands at $10 per hour, tips included—and hasn't budged, in inflation-adjusted terms, since 2000. For non-restaurant US workers, the median hourly wage is $18. That means the median restaurant worker makes 44 percent less than other workers. Benefits are also rare—just 14.4 percent of restaurant workers have employer-sponsored health insurance and 8.4 percent have pensions, vs. 48.7 and 41.8 percent, respectively, for other workers.



• Unionization rates are miniscule. Presumably, it would be more difficult to keep wages throttled at such a low level if restaurant workers could bargain collectively. But just 1.8 percent of restaurant workers belong to unions, about one seventh of the rate for non-restaurant workers. Restaurant workers who do belong to unions are much more likely to have benefits than their non-union peers.

• As a result, the people who prepare and serve you food are pretty likely to live in poverty. The overall poverty rate stands at 6.3 percent. For restaurant workers, the rate is 16.7 percent. For families, researchers often look at twice the poverty threshold as proxy for what it takes to make ends meet, EPI reports. More than 40 percent of restaurant workers live below twice the poverty line—that's double the rate of non-restaurant workers.



• Opportunity for advancement is pretty limited. I was surprised to learn that for every single occupation with restaurants—from dishwashers to chefs to managers—the median hourly wage is much less than the national average of $18. The highest paid occupation is manager, with a median hourly wage of $15.42. The lowest is "cashiers and counter attendants" (median wage: $8.23), while the most prevalent of restaurant workers, waiters and waitresses, who make up nearly a quarter of the industry's workforce, make a median wage of just $10.15. The one that has gained the most glory in recent years, "chefs and head cooks," offers a median wage of just $12.34.

• Industry occupations are highly skewed along gender and race lines. Higher-paid occupations are more likely to be held by men—chefs, cooks, and managers, for example, are 86 percent, 73 percent, and 53 percent male, respectively. Lower-paid positions tend to be dominated by women: for example host and hostess (84.9 percent female), cashiers and counter attendants (75.1 percent), and waiters and waitresses (70.8 percent). I took up this topic in a piece on the vexed gender politics of culinary prestige last year. Meanwhile, "blacks are disproportionately likely to be cashiers/counter attendants, the lowest-paid occupation in the industry," while "Hispanics are disproportionately likely to be dishwashers, dining room attendants, or cooks, also relatively low-paid occupations," the report found.



• Restaurants lean heavily on the most disempowered workers of all—undocumented immigrants. Overall, 15.7 percent of US restaurant workers are undocumented, nearly twice the rate for non-restaurant sectors. Fully a third of dishwashers, nearly 30 percent of non-chef cooks, and more than a quarter of bussers are undocumented, the report found. So a huge swath of the people who feed you pay payroll taxes and sales taxes yet don't receive the rights of citizenship.

Thus you can't opt out of supporting deplorable labor conditions for the people who feed you simply by refusing to pass through the Golden Arches or to enter the Burger King's realm.

So what can you do? One thing is to seek out restaurants that explicitly pay their workers a living wage. Two I can think of offhand: Austin's Black Star Co-op, a cooperatively owned gastro-pub that's managed by a "workers assembly" as a "democratic self-managed workplace." Another is Chapel Hill's excellent Vimala's Curryblossom Cafe. I'd love to hear about more examples in comments.

But these examples are vanishingly rare. The only real solution to the industry's bottom-feeding labor practices are legislative, the EPI report makes clear. That means reforms like a much higher minimum wage and a path to legal status for undocumented workers. Anyone who wants to learn more about working conditions in our nation's eateries should read Saru Jayaraman's outstanding 2013 book Behind the Kitchen Door. (Read the Mother Jones review here.)

found at: http://www.motherjones.com/tom-philpott/2014/08/40-percent-restuarant-workers-live-near-poverty
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Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2014, 09:39:42 AM »
byDeirdre Fulton, staff writer

Oil boom in North Dakota is delaying massive grain shipments, farmers say


Grain elevators like these in Taft, North Dakota, sit full of wheat, corn, and soybeans, as rail cars carrying oil hurtle by. (Photo: Andrew Filer)

U.S. grain shipments are being held up as trains carrying huge quantities of Bakken oil chug through the region, the New York Times reported Tuesday, illustrating how the booming business of moving oil by rail has negative consequences beyond safety risks.

According to the Times:

Railroads have long been the backbone of North Dakota’s transportation system and the most dependable way for farmers to move crops — to ports in Portland, Ore., Seattle and Vancouver, from which the bulk of the grain is shipped across the Pacific to Asia; and to East Coast ports like Albany, from which it is shipped to Europe.

But reports the railroads filed with the federal government show that for the week that ended Aug. 22, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway — North Dakota’s largest railroad, owned by the billionaire Warren E. Buffett — had a backlog of 1,336 rail cars waiting to ship grain and other products. Another railroad, Canadian Pacific, had a backlog of nearly 1,000 cars.

Such backlogs lead to canceled orders from food companies as well as rotting product, Ron Nixon writes for the Times, especially in a year like this one, which is expected to produce record yields. A study completed earlier this year by North Dakota State University at the request of Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) concluded that the state’s farmers could lose more than $160 million as wheat, corn, and soybean backlogs cause prices to fall.

And the problem stretches throughout the entire region. Another study, cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in comments submitted to the U.S. Surface Transportation Board—which regulates this form of transport—this month, showed that rail delays have cost Minnesota grain farmers about $100 million.

On August 22, Midwest Cooperatives grain merchandising manager Jeremy Frost told DTN/The Progressive Farmer that its grain elevators in South Dakota were full. "We're just starting spring wheat and piling it on the ground in Pierre and are looking for other locations to pile it," Frost said. This is on top of the winter wheat, approximately 150,000 bushels, that was piled in Pierre in late July and still sits there.

While rail companies say they are working to reduce the congestion, farmers believe they and their interests are being pushed aside in favor of big-money oil contracts.

"Unfortunately, agriculture does not seem to be a priority for [Canadian Pacific Railroad] and [Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway]," Roger Johnson, president of the National Farmers Union, told the Surface Transportation Board on April 10. "It seems that oil, coal and container shipments are ahead of grain in the list of shipping priorities."

The Surface Transportation Board announced last week that it would hold a public hearing on September 4 to discuss the issue, according to DTN/The Progressive Farmer.

found at: http://commondreams.org/news/2014/08/26/midwestern-wheat-left-rotting-oil-trains-roll
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Offline knarf

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Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2014, 09:45:36 AM »
PAUL BUCHHEIT

If you're wondering why wages are stagnating and inequality is on the rise, look no further


Americans constantly hear about the threat of “entitlements,” which in the case of Social Security and Medicare are more properly defined as “earned benefits.” The real threat is the array of entitlements demanded by the very rich. The following  annual numbers may help to put our country’s expenses and benefits in perspective.

$220 Billion: Teacher Salaries

According to the  Bureau of Labor Statistics there are just over four million preschool, primary, secondary, and special education school teachers in the U.S., earning an average of $54,740.

$246 Billion: State and Local Pensions

Census data shows a total annual (2012) payout of about $246 billion. Only about $100 billion of this came from state and local governments, with the remainder funded by employee contributions and investment earnings. A recent  Pew study showed a little over $100 billion in annual state contributions to pensions, health care, and non-pension benefits.

$398 Billion: Safety Net

The 2013  safety net (non-medical) included the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), WIC (Women, Infants, Children), Child Nutrition, Earned Income Tax Credit, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Education & Training, and Housing.

$863 Billion: Social Security

Social Security is the major source of income for most of the elderly, and it is an earned benefit. As of 2010, according to the  Urban Institute, the average two-earner couple making average wages throughout their lifetimes receive less in Social Security benefits than they paid in.

$2,200 Billion: Tax Avoidance

That’s $2.2 trillion in tax expenditures, tax underpayments, tax havens, and corporate nonpayment. It is estimated that two-thirds of tax breaks accrue to the  top quintile of taxpayers.

$5,000 Billion: Investment Wealth

That’s $5 trillion dollars a year, the annual amount  gained in U.S. wealth from the end of 2008 to the middle of 2013. Even though the whole country continued to grow in productivity, most of the new wealth went to the very richest people. According to  Oxfam, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.

Another View: Annual Per Capita Numbers

The following are averages, which are skewed in the case of tax breaks and investment income, as a result of the excessive takings of the .1% and the .01%. Details of the calculations can be found  here.

$8,600 for each of the  Safety Net recipients

$14,600 for each of the  Social Security recipients

$27,333 for each of the  Pension recipients

$54,740 for each of the  Teachers

$200,000 for each of the  Tax Break recipients among the richest 1%

$500,000 for each of the  Investment Income recipients among the richest 1%

The super-rich feel they deserve all the tax breaks and the accumulation of wealth from the productivity of others.

This is the true threat of entitlement.

found at: http://www.salon.com/2014/08/26/6_numbers_that_tell_you_everything_you_need_to_know_about_americas_busted_priorities_partner/?source=newsletter
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Offline Surly1

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Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2014, 10:08:59 AM »
PAUL BUCHHEIT

If you're wondering why wages are stagnating and inequality is on the rise, look no further


Americans constantly hear about the threat of “entitlements,” which in the case of Social Security and Medicare are more properly defined as “earned benefits.” The real threat is the array of entitlements demanded by the very rich. The following  annual numbers may help to put our country’s expenses and benefits in perspective.

$220 Billion: Teacher Salaries

According to the  Bureau of Labor Statistics there are just over four million preschool, primary, secondary, and special education school teachers in the U.S., earning an average of $54,740.

$246 Billion: State and Local Pensions

Census data shows a total annual (2012) payout of about $246 billion. Only about $100 billion of this came from state and local governments, with the remainder funded by employee contributions and investment earnings. A recent  Pew study showed a little over $100 billion in annual state contributions to pensions, health care, and non-pension benefits.

$398 Billion: Safety Net

The 2013  safety net (non-medical) included the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), WIC (Women, Infants, Children), Child Nutrition, Earned Income Tax Credit, Supplemental Security Income, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Education & Training, and Housing.

$863 Billion: Social Security

Social Security is the major source of income for most of the elderly, and it is an earned benefit. As of 2010, according to the  Urban Institute, the average two-earner couple making average wages throughout their lifetimes receive less in Social Security benefits than they paid in.

$2,200 Billion: Tax Avoidance

That’s $2.2 trillion in tax expenditures, tax underpayments, tax havens, and corporate nonpayment. It is estimated that two-thirds of tax breaks accrue to the  top quintile of taxpayers.

$5,000 Billion: Investment Wealth

That’s $5 trillion dollars a year, the annual amount  gained in U.S. wealth from the end of 2008 to the middle of 2013. Even though the whole country continued to grow in productivity, most of the new wealth went to the very richest people. According to  Oxfam, the wealthiest one percent captured 95 percent of post-financial crisis growth since 2009, while the bottom 90 percent became poorer.

Another View: Annual Per Capita Numbers

The following are averages, which are skewed in the case of tax breaks and investment income, as a result of the excessive takings of the .1% and the .01%. Details of the calculations can be found  here.

$8,600 for each of the  Safety Net recipients

$14,600 for each of the  Social Security recipients

$27,333 for each of the  Pension recipients

$54,740 for each of the  Teachers

$200,000 for each of the  Tax Break recipients among the richest 1%

$500,000 for each of the  Investment Income recipients among the richest 1%

The super-rich feel they deserve all the tax breaks and the accumulation of wealth from the productivity of others.

This is the true threat of entitlement.

found at: http://www.salon.com/2014/08/26/6_numbers_that_tell_you_everything_you_need_to_know_about_americas_busted_priorities_partner/?source=newsletter

Great stuff, knarf. Gonna need your own news channel pretty soon...
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline RE

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Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2014, 12:37:34 PM »
I'm going to split the recent bunch off and retitle the thread as Knarf's Knewz.  :icon_sunny:

RE
SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

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Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2014, 12:53:58 PM »
I'm going to split the recent bunch off and retitle the thread as Knarf's Knewz.  :icon_sunny:

RE

Kewl.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2014, 01:56:27 PM »



knarf hits the big time as an OFFICIAL DOOMSTEAD DINER NEWZ HOUND!   :icon_sunny:




Agelbert carries on.  :icon_mrgreen:  :coffee:
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

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Order Out of Chaos: The Global Elites Plan for a “Middle Eastern Union”
« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2014, 03:23:45 PM »
By Steven MacMillan
Global Research, August 19, 2014



The Middle East has been engulfed in a state of chaos for decades now, with the region becoming increasingly unstable in recent years largely due to western sponsored proxy wars. The current map of the Middle East was created in 1916 through the surreptitious Sykes-Picot agreement, a deal which divided the Ottoman-ruled territories of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine, into areas controlled by either Britain or France. Today the chaos we see in the Middle East is the creation of Anglo-American-Israeli power, which is attempting to redraw the map to meet their present strategic and imperial objectives.

Islamic State: A Creation of US Intelligence

The Islamic State (IS) has hit the headlines in recent months due to their latest terror campaign in Iraq, which has led to US airstrikes in the North of the country. What has been omitted from mainstream circles though is the intimate relationship between US intelligence agencies and IS, as they have trained, armed and funded the group for years. Back in 2012, World Net Daily received leaks by Jordanian officials who reported that the US military was training ISIL (as it was then known) in Jordan, before being deployed into Syria to fight against Bashar al-Assad. Francis Boyle, a Law professor at the University of Illinois, has described IS as a “covert US intelligence operation” whose objective is to “destroy Iraq as a state”.

The strategy in the Middle East is the creation of a perpetual condition of instability and a policy of “constructive chaos”, where nation states are to be destroyed so that the map of the Middle East can be redrawn. IS provided the pretext to intervene in Iraq once again, with the intervention ensuring the oil fields in Erbil are safely in the hands of multi-national corporations – as oppose to chaotic and dysfunctional mercenaries. As well as providing the justification for the US,Britain and France to “bolster” the Kurds in the North of the country, which furthers the agenda of destroying “Iraq as a state”. As the President of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and Former Director of Policy Planning at the State Department, Richard Hass, wrote in an Op Ed for Project Syndicate last month:

“It is time to recognize the inevitability of Iraq’s break-up (the country is now more a vehicle for Iran’s influence than a bulwark against it) and bolster an independent Kurdistan within Iraq’s former borders.”

As I reported in June, the policy in Iraq is to split the country into 3 separate religious and ethnic mini-states: a Sunni Iraq to the West, an Arab Shia State in the East and a Free Kurdistan in the North. The objective of dividing Iraq into 3 has been discussed in neo-imperial policy circles since as far back as 1982, when Israeli journalist – who also had close connections to the Foreign Ministry in Israel – Oded Yinon, wrote an article which was published in a journal of the World Zionist Organisation, titled: “A Strategy for Israel in the Nineteen Eighties”. Yinon discusses the plan for a Greater Israel and pinpoints Iraq in particular as the major obstacle in the Middle East which threatens Israel’s expansion:

“Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel (p.12)……….The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target.” (p.11.)

Yinon continues:

“In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shi’ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north.”(p.12)

Israel is merely an extension of Anglo-American power and has been since its creation in 1948, so any expansion of Israeli territory is synonymous with an increase in Anglo-American hegemony in the region. Arthur James Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary from 1916 to 1919 and author of the 1917 Balfour Declaration – which declared British support for the creation of a Jewish state (Israel) in Palestine – was also a member of the Milner Group, according to CFR historian Carroll Quigley in his book the Anglo-American Establishment (p.311). The Milner Group was the precursor to the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) or Chatham House; the British arm of the CFR, with both organisations sharing the collective objective of creating an Anglo-American global empire.

The Plan for a “Middle Eastern Union”

After funding and being directly responsible for much of the chaos and instability that has been unleashed in the Middle East, western think tank strategists are proposing a centralised, sovereignty-usurping union as the solution to the problem they have created, in a classic deployment of the order out of chaos doctrine. As The New American reported last month, Ed Husain, an Adjunct Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the CFR, compared today’s Middle East to Europe before the EU was created, and he asserted that the only solution to the ongoing violence is the creation of a “Middle Eastern Union”.  This sentiment was echoed by Hass, who compared the Middle East of today to 17th century Europe, in his article “The New Thirty Years War”. Hass proclaims that the future will likely be as turbulent unless a “new local order” emerges:

“For now and for the foreseeable future – until a new local order emerges or exhaustion sets in – the Middle East will be less a problem to be solved than a condition to be managed.”

The idea of an EU-style governing body over the Middle East is not a new concept. In 2008, the Iraqi government called for an EU-style trading bloc in the Middle East that would encompass Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and later perhaps the Gulf states, in an address to the US think tank the Institute of Peace. Chatham House has also set up an initiative in Turkey called the Chatham House Istanbul Roundtable, designed to discuss issues relating to Turkey’s role within the region.  The President of Turkey, Abdullah Gül, was in attendance at the second meeting in 2011 along with Egemen Bağış, the ‘Minister for EU Affairs and Chief Negotiator’ at the time, who gave a speech where he described the EU as the model for the Middle East:

“We all know that the EU emerged as the most successful peace and development project of the history after a bloody war. Today, we have the very same expectations for the Middle East.’”

Whether a “Middle Eastern Union” will be created is difficult to determine at this point in history, but there is no question that the process of redrawing the map of the Middle East is well under way.

found at: http://www.globalresearch.ca/order-out-of-chaos-the-global-elites-plan-for-a-middle-eastern-union/5396518
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Alcohol Abuse: How Do I Know If I’ve Crossed the Line?
« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2014, 03:43:27 PM »
Alcohol abuse can seem like a gray area for many people who consume alcohol. Find out what may be considered alcohol abuse to be sure your drinking habits are healthy and responsible. Learn the warning signs of alcohol abuse as well, so you can recognize when it’s time to seek help. Remember that it’s never too early to ask for help.
Alcohol Abuse


Alcohol abuse may be confusing to many people, as it may not be so obvious as alcohol addiction. Binge drinking is one common way that alcohol is abused. Be aware that binge drinking and other such irresponsible behaviors with alcohol are dangerous and come along with serious consequences. Alcohol abuse, like alcohol addiction, can be treated so you can be free from the associated dangers of substance abuse and bring your life back to a place of greater health and productivity.
Alcohol Abuse Warning Signs
These are some of the potential warning signs of alcohol abuse. Any one of these symptoms could indicate a serious problem with alcohol, especially when repeated over time.
Blacking out or otherwise forgetting experiences while drinking alcohol.
Behaving in a manner one normally would not while under the influence of alcohol or engaging in activities that one otherwise would not.
Neglecting responsibilities due to alcohol use.
Alcohol is making a negative impact on your life – i.e. work, school, relationships, et al.
Consuming alcohol to change your mood or relieve stress.
Operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or engaging in other such risky behaviors.
Drinking despite apparent health consequences of drinking.
Treatment for Alcohol Abuse
Unlike common misconceptions, alcohol treatment centers are not only for clients of alcoholism. Clients struggling with alcohol abuse may also benefit from alcohol abuse and addiction treatment programs to get their lives back on the path towards greater health.
Alcohol abuse treatment works using the same tried-and-true professional treatment methods as alcoholism including psychotherapy, lifestyle counseling, stress management and support group meetings. Psychotherapy is the main treatment method and it works by helping clients discover their personal, underlying reasons behind why they are abusing alcohol. This provides clients with solid foundations to working against abusing alcohol. Psychotherapy sessions include one-on-one therapy, group therapy, family therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.
If you or someone you know is abusing alcohol, it’s important to know there is help available. You can take back control of your life and put an end to the consequences and effects of the abuse of alcohol.
If you or someone you love is suffering from the effects of alcohol abuse, substance addiction or any other type of addiction, please call us today at 1-877-380-9777.  Our addiction treatment counselors can help you deal with physical, emotional and psychological consequences of drug and alcohol abuse.  A substance abuse treatment program is effective, safe and has helped many men reclaim their lives. Destination Hope is a full service drug, alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment facility in Florida for men suffering from substance abuse and mental health issues.

found at: http://www.drugrehabfl.net/2014/08/05/alcohol-abuse-how-do-i-know-if-ive-crossed-the-line/
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MARIJUANA POSES MORE RISKS THAN MANY REALIZE
« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2014, 03:52:27 PM »


Doctors say they’re increasingly fielding questions about the safety of marijuana, as use of the drug rises and more communities consider legalizing it. Colorado and Washington state have legalized recreational marijuana, and medical use is allowed in 21 states and Washington, D.C.

USA TODAY’s Liz Szabo talked to experts about what scientists know and don’t know about marijuana’s risks and benefits.

Q. How common is marijuana use?
A. About 12% of people of Americans over age 12 have used it in the past year, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Use of marijuana among high school students has been increasing since the 1990s. If current trends continue, marijuana use among high school seniors could soon become more common than cigarette smoking, says Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Q. Is marijuana addictive?
A. Sometimes. About 9% of those who experiment with marijuana overall — and nearly 17% of those who use it as teenagers — will become addicted, according to the definition of addiction used in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Volkow says. Up to half of people who smoke marijuana daily become addicted.
According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2.7 million people over age 12 meet criteria for addiction to marijuana.

Q. What are the potential medical uses of marijuana?
A. Smoking marijuana may stimulate appetite, especially in patients with AIDS, according to an Institute of Medicine report.
Smoking pot also may alleviate the nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy treatments for cancer. It also may relieve severe pain and spasticity, when muscles become overly tight and rigid. Marijuana also could potentially help treat glaucoma, by decreasing pressure in the eye.
But marijuana also may make the cognitive problems associated with HIV even worse, according to a 2004 study.
“If an individual comes in with severe pain and I haven’t been able to manage it with any other means, I am willing to consider it, but with a lot of precaution,” says Steven Wright, a pain and addiction medicine specialist in Denver. “But unless you are really severely affected by pain, it’s not in your favor in the long term.”

Q. Is medical marijuana approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration?
A. No. But the FDA has approved two drugs made with cannabinoids – active ingredients in marijuana – called dronabinol and nabilone. Both are approved to treat chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting in patients who aren’t helped by other therapies.
The FDA is reviewing an unapproved drug, called Sativex, to treat multiple sclerosis. It’s already approved in Canada, the United Kingdom and other countries. And researchers are testing an experimental drug called Epidiolex to treat childhood epilepsy.

Q. How have the risks of marijuana changed in recent years?
A. Marijuana products today are far stronger than in the past, which may explain why more people are overdosing or getting into car accidents, Volkow says.
The concentration of the main active ingredient in marijuana – tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC – has quadrupled since the 1980s, increasing to about 12% today, according to a June article by Volkow in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Some of the new, edible marijuana products – from cookies to chocolates – can be 10 times stronger than traditional joints, Wright says.
Because smoked marijuana affects people so quickly — reaching the brain in only 7 seconds – users often feel satisfied after a few drags, so that they don’t actually smoke very much, Wright says.
But because a cookie’s full effects may not set in for an hour or more, people may end up consuming far more THC than they intended to, Wright says.

Q. What are the risks to children?
A. Emergency room doctors are treating more small children for accidental overdoses of marijuana, says Kathryn Wells, president of the Colorado chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Doctors at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora have treated 12 children for marijuana overdoses just since January, when recreational use became legal in Colorado. Doctors treated eight children in all of 2013.
Of those treated this year, seven needed intensive care, says hospital spokeswoman Elizabeth Whitehead.
Children also may be exposed when their mothers use pot during pregnancy or breastfeeding, Wells says. She says a number of women now tell her that they’re trying marijuana for morning sickness or other uses while pregnant. Other parents bring their children to the doctor, reeking of marijuana smoke. Wells says parents tell her, “it’s legal, so there’s nothing wrong with it.”

Q. Why are young people more vulnerable to the risks of smoking marijuana?
A. Their brains are still developing, Volkow says.
The brain isn’t fully mature until about age 25, Wright says.
That may help explain why people who use pot frequently, beginning as teens, often have significant declines in their IQ as adults, Volkow wrote in a June article in The New England Journal of Medicine. Marijuana impairs critical thinking skills for days after people sober up. That means that teens who use marijuana on weekends may not be able to learn properly when they return to school. Like alcohol, marijuana impairs judgment, so that teens may take more risks – from speeding to sex – that can endanger their lives.

Q. Is marijuana a “gateway drug” that leads to use of more dangerous substances?
A. It’s unclear. Studies show that people who use marijuana are more likely to later abuse other drugs. But scientists aren’t sure of the reason. It’s possible that marijuana, like alcohol and nicotine, “prime the brain for a heightened response to other drugs,” Volkow wrote. But it’s also possible that people who are susceptible to drug abuse simply start with marijuana because it’s more accessible.

Q. How is marijuana related to mental illness?
A. Marijuana increases the risk of psychosis, in which people lose touch with reality and may experience delusions, hallucinations and paranoia, Volkow says. Marijuana is also associated with chronic psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, in people who are genetically susceptible. Heavy marijuana use can lead these people to experience a psychotic episode two to six years earlier than otherwise.
Colorado police have reported two deaths this year related to psychosis-like episodes in pot users. In March, a 19-year-old African exchange student jumped off a hotel balcony after eating a marijuana cookie. The next month, a Denver man who had purchased marijuana, including an edible form called “Karma Kandy,” began hallucinating and fatally shot his wife.

Q. How is marijuana related to car accidents?
A. Marijuana doubles the risk of a car accident when people try to drive soon after using it. Marijuana causes more car accidents than any other illicit drug, a 2013 study shows. In comparison, being legally drunk — with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% — increases the risk of an accident by five times.
In a study released earlier this year, Columbia University researchers found that marijuana contributed to 12% of traffic deaths in 2010, triple the rate from a decade earlier.

Q. Does marijuana cause cancer?
A. Although some studies have linked heavy marijuana smoking to lung cancer, the link isn’t totally clear. But marijuana is associated with a variety of lung problems, including inflammation of the airways, symptoms of chronic bronchitis and an increased risk of pneumonia and respiratory infections, according to the New England Journal review.

Q. Does marijuana cause heart disease?
A. People who smoke marijuana have changes in their blood vessels that increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, the New England Journal review shows.

Q. What don’t researchers know about marijuana?
A. Most research is based on heavy use of marijuana and daily smoking, Volkow says. Scientists know much less about the effects of using marijuana once a week or once a month.
Older studies also may not be as relevant to the more potent marijuana products sold today, Volkow says. Doctors at the National Institute of Health are prioritizing research in young people, and hope to better understand the effects of marijuana in real-world situations, in which teens often combine it with alcohol. It’s possible that some of the side effects of marijuana relate to impurities found in illegal products, says Jahan Marcu, a senior scientist at Americans for Safe Access, a medical marijuana advocacy group. As marijuana becomes better regulated, it also may become safer.

found at: http://northcastlecares.org/marijuana-poses-more-risks-than-many-realize/
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Netanyahu Bragging About ‘Having America Around His Finger’ video
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2014, 04:05:08 PM »
The Young Turks Reveal Video Of Netanyahu Bragging About ‘Having America Around His Finger’

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/K9KDhsFFfGU&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/K9KDhsFFfGU&fs=1</a>
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Religion on Earth…an Alien View
« Reply #14 on: August 27, 2014, 04:49:42 PM »
 by dadhichi  July 28, 2014



Hey planet earth! How is religion working for you I ask, imagining myself as an alien looking down on Earth from a distance some light years away and wondering "What the hell are these Earthlings doing? I ask this question as I repeatedly see the same old global, issues recurring not just year after year but century after century and think to myself that if religion and its leaders were under the same scrutiny as publicly listed companies, they would be deregistered and thrown out on their sorry little backsides yesterday.

I opened the newspaper this week to the story of Israel and Gaza, to a conflict between Jews who worship the Torah and Moslems who worship the Koran to find hundreds being slaughtered in the name of peace and their religions. What a load of BS. Who are they kidding? I see suicide bombers in Afghanistan, Iraq and Africa on a daily basis driving their bomb laden vehicles into schoolyards, police precincts, shopping malls and other public places mutilating thousands if not millions over the years in the name of their peaceful and loving God. Well God forbid! Is it any wonder I like millions of others are turning to atheism and non-religious, freethinking protocols to base their lives upon. How can anyone of religious persuasion look me in the eye and tell me with a straight face that their religion works? It doesn't. And to argue their case they would say religion does a lot of good… for the poor for example. Well atheists and nonreligious people are just as capable of helping the poor and they do! There are plenty of organisations which are not under the guise of religion and do good for those less fortunate. Take science, the development of medicine and other life saving technologies, produced by many atheists. In fact one must ask whether those less fortunate are being made even more unfortunate looking at the billions and trillions of dollars stowed away in bank accounts under the name of the Lord.

Donations in the billions are funnelled into Vatican accounts and one huuuuge donation which comes to mind is that of the US$50 million given by a South American government to Mother Teresa in the 1980's specifically earmarked for the poor and underprivileged. This donation was directly transferred to the Vatican bank. Surprise, surprise. Not really, just a plain downright disgrace is what it is. And especially after visiting the Manila-based Mother Teresa institution for the severely handicapped and disabled I found not one piece of medical apparatus available for these poor unfortunate children. This is over thirty years later mind you!! What happened to the money, the 'donation'? Of course the US$50 million is still sitting in the Vatican account funding a few more golden chalices and bullet proof vehicles for pompous popes to pounce around the global stage in their strange looking hats and mediaeval garb pretending to be doing something other than feeding their own egos and outdated tribal Middle Eastern philosophies.

Enough! I'm sorry folks, but when I see it the underprivileged being downtrodden, political leaders forming alliances with Christian lobbyists obviously based upon backroom deals to give these religious cults more social and political leverage, I have to weep especially when I see one armed children, blind kids and 14-year-old mothers slinging babies around street corners and intersection stoplights for a few measly cents. Most of them are Christian by the way and obviously not recipients of any type of social welfare system these massive religious conglomerates ought have in place given the money in their holy coffers was donated largely by these sub classes themselves. That's right, I turned away from established religion many, many years ago even though I was raised a staunch Roman Catholic. I was reared in part by my rosary toting grandmother who chanted so many Hail Marys that the metal beads had worn down to the chain obviously fearful of the consequences of her destination in the afterlife if she didn't conduct her daily 3 to 4 hour ritual. Deep within herself she was driven by fear.

I say reclaim the churches, the money in the Vatican banks, the stockpiles of gold in the temples in India, and set up social funds to hand back money and property to the rightful owners- that is, the people, you and I and everyone else who throughout the previous centuries suffered through fear of eternal hellfire, who paid indulgences in the early days of the church, believing they had purchased their way back into the light of God and to sit on His right-hand side. On the other side of the 'war', Muslims with their fabricated story of heaven and eternal salvation and the dozens of virgins waiting to f** them hard and pleasurably for the mass slayings and their own suicide. Think about this deeply, consider the deeply disturbing ramifications of this mentality, mass education and twisted spin which is considered TRUTH. Children who are yet to develop any level of reasoning are indoctrinated into this philosophy at the ear;iest age. Apart from these direct religious atrocities as I call them, and practices which must see millions of aliens on other planets sitting back at their Friday night cinema watching, laughing, there's no doubt that even some of the more secular atrocities such as the downing of the Malaysian airlines craft with over 290 civilian deaths including 80 children even if not by religious fanatics, would no doubt have been perpetrated by some visiting their churches and temples on a weekly if not daily basis claiming "God is on our side!" as did George Bush and many other notable leaders in history beforew they had their millions of millions trudge off to the slaughter.

These people claim to believe in a supreme being but have absolutely no regard for their fellow man and would mercilessly extinguish the lives of innocents under this gross pretence. With a dismal situation we human beings find ourselves in by hiding behind this farce of religion and spirituality, of so-called goodness. Look in any direction and you will clearly see the travesty, the tragedy and exact opposite of what these religions propose as being the daily norm for most people. I, like the aliens watching must surely dread where we as a race are headed. Worried about endangered species? I'd be listing homo sapiens as number one on that list and in large part to the role religion has and continues to play in the affairs of our misguided race. Beam me up Scottie! As quickly as possible please.

found at: http://www.astrology.com.au/blogs/?p=1570
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